Australia

Chiropractor under fire after video shows him treating a two-week old baby

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The video, which was shot in August last year, has sparked debate between doctors and chiropractors over whether the practice should be banned.

A Melbourne chiropractor is under investigation by regulatory bodies after a video emerged of him performing spinal manipulation on a crying two-week-old baby

The vision, which was filmed in August last year, shows Dr Andrew Arnold performing the techniques on the baby who had colic. 

Victorian Health Minister Jenny Mikakos said she was "very upset" after watching the footage and had written to the Chiropractic Board of Australia urging them to take urgent action.

The video shows the chiropractor holding the baby by it's feet.
The video shows the chiropractor holding the baby by its feet.
Supplied


But the president of the Australian Chiropractors Association Dr Anthony Coxon defended the capacity of its members to treat infants, with more than 30,000 children visiting chiropractors every week. 

"One of the things with a lot of paediatric techniques ... they don't necessarily look great on camera but they can be quite appropriate in an individual circumstance," he told SBS News.

According to the association, a study published in the British Medical Journal two years ago showed that chiropractic techniques have positive effects on unsettled babies.

"It's by no means definitive but it does inform chiropractors to make the best evidence-informed decisions," Dr Coxon said.

Dr Coxon demonstrates the use of an activator.
Dr Coxon demonstrates the use of an activator.
SBS News


One of these techniques, which is shown in the video, involves the use of a spring-loaded instrument called an activator that delivers a controlled electrical impulse to the spine.

But according to the president of the Australian Medical Association Victoria, Professor Julian Rait, an earlier study showed such techniques were potentially harmful for babies.

"There were examples given in that paper of paralysis, paraplegia ... also there were one or two examples of bleeding on the brain in certain situations," he said. 

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